In a significant development for a nascent sector, today the International Soil Carbon Industry Alliance (ISCIA) was unveiled at COP28. Appropriately timed on the United Nations’ World Soil Day, the new industry alliance has been established to collaborate, share knowledge, accelerate agricultural decarbonisation and increase soil organic carbon. The group is backed by modelling and measuring experts, voluntary carbon market players, and industry professionals specialising in soil carbon sequestration projects.
“Soil is the world’s second-largest carbon sink and offers to play a pivotal role in addressing the looming climate crisis with a plethora of additional benefits to nature and society at large,” says Frederick Leuschner, CEO of GreenTrade. “But progress is not happening quickly enough; the private sector is eager to scale collaborative international action – today.”
According to the IPCC, all pathways to avoid catastrophic warming rely on carbon dioxide removal, in addition to drastically reducing emissions. Soil carbon sequestration through improved land management practices has the potential to remove 3-5 Gt/CO2-eq each year, equating to approximately 10 percent of humanity’s annual emissions.
ISCIA’s launch includes representation from 28 organisations initially forming two chapters in Eurasia and Pacific-Americas to capture the global time zones. The cross-industry collaborative group aims to identify and overcome barriers that hinder the success of soil carbon projects, share best practices and provide recommendations for policy development that support soil carbon sequestration.
The alliance’s scope focuses on critical areas for enhancing the development potential for the soil carbon market including: accounting methods, carbon credits, measurement and modelling technology, soil carbon credit integrity, finance and investment, as well as co-benefit opportunities such as biodiversity, water quality, and improved food security.
“It’s so important that we enable knowledge-sharing and coordinate technical discussions across national and international levels to advance soil carbon sequestration globally,” says Karen Haugen-Kozyra, president of consulting group Viresco Solutions, whose pioneering work within agricultural greenhouse gas measurement dates back to 2004 through collaboration with the province of Alberta and the government of Canada on the soil carbon front. “There has never been a more critical time for us to collaboratively act on the climate.”
Founding members of ISCIA include Agreena, Agriprove, Boomita, GreenTrade, Indigo Ag, Nutrien, Regrow, Seqana, and Viresco Solutions.